Don’t initiate what you can’t manage

Don’t initiate what you can’t manage

One of the first rules of IT management is: do not start a project if you have no idea how to follow it thorough. If you don’t know how to manage the new processes, then you will end up destroying the old functioning model, as well as leave many departments damaged with the new project that you don’t know what to do about.

Unfortunately, in Turkey, especially at the government level, this is the regular way to do business in ICT related projects. I have been writing about ICT in Turkey for more than 10 years now and I have seen only one or two projects that were finished on time with the functions properly working as promised in the government regarding ICT.

The MERNIS project, for example. It is very rarely used by citizens, if at all. And here is a 2003 HDN piece about it: “The MERNIS project forms one of the fundamentals of the e-Turkey database system and will computerize information about all citizens. The state began the MERNIS project in 1972 and was completed recently.”

It was started in 1972, claimed to be finished in 2003 and in 2014 it is still not functioning properly. This summarizes the Turkish government’s capabilities in ICT.

We as, Turkish citizens, are kind of used to this; however, this phenomenon is now going global.
According to HDN “Many tourists who have come to Turkey over the summer have been victimized by the newly-adopted ‘e-Visa’ electronic visa application system and were not permitted through customs at two popular resorts, Doğan News Agency reported Aug. 19.

Tourists who had their visas issued online were not permitted through customs in Bodrum and Dalaman airports, as e-Visas were only valid at Istanbul Atatürk, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Ankara Esenboğa airports.

The electronic visa application that allows visitors to obtain a Turkish visa online was initiated April 11. It was hoped that online applications would facilitate and hasten the process of visa applications for citizens of countries that require a visa for their travels in Turkey.” 

The intention is very good but the result is worse than before. This is a direct result of failed ICT project management. Most probably there is nothing wrong with the new system’s coding. Turkish coders are among the best in Europe, but someone who is occupying a seat as a “director” or a “manager” who is responsible for the whole project management failed miserably.

However, he or she will not pay the price for it. Even though they caused many tourists’ vacations to be ruined and made Turkey lose millions of euros in the process. If they thought that they would lose their seat, then they would have managed the project better.

As long as we in Turkey place our relatives or kin in high levels at the government, we will never be able to have successful ICT projects. Because you can only run an ICT project if you are knowledgeable about it. And being knowledgeable can only succeed in systems where merit is more important than who you know.